Assignments in college prep English are opportunities
for students to acquire, develop, and refine critical reading, thinking,
researching, and writing skills necessary for college-level courses. For many
college prep English students, the way to obtain successful marks has
remained a mystery for far too long and I think it's my job to demystify
Assignments are intended to be challenging;
however, for students to be successful in completing assignments the
expectations for success need to be clearly communicated. In addition,
what is required to achieve a passing grade must too be clearly
Thus, I provide clear rubrics to students at the
beginning of every class and I take seriously all feedback students give
me on how to refine my communication regarding class assignments.
Unlike other college prep English courses, some students enrolled in English 090 students have
already received conditional acceptance to their college or
university-level program, but did not have the grades required for
admittance to English 100. Or, the student may have referred to English
090 by an instructor to help improve the students' overall reading,
thinking, researching, and writing skills for greater success in their
100-level classes. Therefore, I feel it is important to make the assignments
scaffold clearly into 100-level assignments, and I work closely with
many college instructors to meet this goal.
As a way of scaffolding students into
academic writing, the first two assignments are intended to be completed in
groups; however, a student may choose to work independently.
Thesis statements will be provided, but are optional and students may provide their own thesis statements.
The Research Binder is to be developed
in conjunction with Essay #1.
Essay #1 is a Formal Essay Outline only (see pages
418-419 in the textbook for an example).
Essays #1-4 follow the standard Grade 12
format of the 5-paragraph essay and APA style, and need to include include at
least three (3) academic sources as argument support.
The Research Essay follows the standard 100-level course
essay of at least five (5) pages of content (i.e. not including title page,
references page, etc.) and needs to cite at least five (5) peer-reviewed
journal articles, two (2) books, and one (1) government website
Critical Reading Responses require at
least four (4) paragraphs and will be evaluated using a rubric that examines
the student’s demonstration of critical reading and critical thinking skills,
in addition to writing style, mechanics, and formatting.
Calibrated Peer Reviews are designed to
give students opportunity to practice analyzing and evaluating writing samples,
while also giving students an opportunity to polish their essays before final
For the essay rubric the students, with guidance from
the instructor, will work together to assign percentages for each section in
the rubric. To prepare for active
participation, students are encouraged to read the following article: Academic writing: The key
to student retention? (2011) by Cecile